Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Office sought: Palatine Township Clerk (4-year Term)
Family: My husband and I will celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary this year; we are blessed with two children, Brittany and Timothy.
Occupation: Dental Assistant> currently part-time, and as a career for the last 25 years
Education: Graduated from Apollo College of Medical and Dental Careers Chicago, 1987
Civic involvement: Current Service: -Salute, Inc. Vice President (non-profit org. serving military service members, veterans, and their families) -IL Military Families Initiative Community Action Team member -Townships of Cook County Clerk's Division member -Townships of Cook County Clerk's Division Audit Committee member Previous Service: -NIEMC member (Northern IL Emergency Management Consortium), a group exploring new technologies and topics of mutual interest in the area of emergency management and disaster preparedness -Palatine Township Human Needs Committee member -Chairman of the Palatine Township Communications Committee -Chairman of the Palatine Township Health and Safety Committee -PTA Committee Co-Chair at Hunting Ridge School in Palatine
Elected offices held: Palatine Township Trustee 2005-2009 Palatine Township Clerk 2009-2013
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Continued Fiscal Responsibility: Serving as a Trustee in my first term on the Township Board, I worked with my fellow voting members to eliminate an inherited deficit. We balanced the budget and maintained a low tax rate. In my term as Clerk, I have refused my taxpayer-paid township pension and proposed the elimination of the taxpayer-paid IMRF retirement/pension benefit program for future board members. I want our newly elected board to continue balancing our budget, but also FREEZE THE TAX LEVY for each year of the next four year term.
Key Issue 2
Honest/Transparent Governance: I drafted, proposed, and earned approval of a Transparency Initiative that established website publishing of information on: -Elected and Administrative Officials -Board Meeting Minutes -Budget and Audit -Monthly Expenditure Reports -Salary and Benefits -Public Contracts and Lobbying efforts This means less staff time dealing with FOIA requests and easier access for all residents seeking this information. I would like additional years' records posted on our website and will again, ask this next board to approve this request.
Key Issue 3
Veterans/Military Families Outreach: As Clerk, I developed the highly recognized Palatine Township Blue Star Banner Program which honors and supports military families in the Township. This successful program won the support of area mayors and was also recently duplicated in McHenry Township. I am currently a member of the IL Military Families Initiative- Palatine Township Community Action Team. Our objectives are to identify services and resources in our community; identify who needs these services and resources; provide military cultural competency training to service providers, along with a network of referrals to link resources with military families and veterans. I am working on what type of limited role the Township might play towards these goals.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
1. Ensure balanced budgets and FREEZE THE TAX LEVY each year for the next four year term This board needs to understand that they are one of MANY taxing bodies to which our residents pay taxes to. Residents already feel overtaxed and for good reason. I believe its time to tighten our fiscal belts and give some relief to property taxpayers. A tax levy freeze is both feasible and necessary. We need to form a Strategic Planning Committee, with the brightest minds from our community invited to join. We have a very noble mission at Palatine Township and with the direction of a Strategic Plan guiding us for the next five to ten years, we can ensure our mission is accomplished. 2. Allow posting of additional Township records/information While I am proud of my Transparency Initiative which published a large amount of Township data onto our Township website, I would like the Board to act on my previous requests to post additional information as well. This new board needs to be honest and open with its residents and allow them the ease of gathering information on our website instead of through FOIAs. I will continue to push for more transparency. 3. Provide a better experience at the Township Center I would like to update our website to include a webpage dedicated to resident feedback. An opportunity for residents to comment on a service they received; share ideas on how to better a particular service or program; view current volunteer opportunities in real time, etc. I am also investigating the modernization of payment processing in my office, with no cost to the Township budget.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Townships are the form of government closest to the people, thus more accountable as a government unit than others. While some have called for elimination of Township government by consolidating services into other established government bodies, facts show that local government consolidations, have typically resulted in higher taxes and spending. I cringe at the thought of Cook County govt. taking over Township services. Cook County fails miserably at providing services yet continues to raise taxes and fees beyond belief. I also don't believe that the Township's role needs to continually expand; believing any new role should not and cannot burden the taxpayer any further.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The primary responsibilities of Townships in Cook County are only two: Provide General Assistance to those in need and Road and Bridge Maintenance in unincorporated areas. I believe Palatine Township has stayed true to its core mission through its many volunteer based programs benefiting the less fortunate in our community, along with a Road District which has done a commendable job at maintaining its unincorporated roads and bridges.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
I feel that administrative costs need to be kept under control. Additionally, while attorney opinions are necessary for certain issues/items, I believe some board members have, at times over-utilized our attorney for trivial matters, resulting in a line item that's way over budget. Attorney related expenditures need to be cut and the budgeted amount honored.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
While the Township Clerk has numerous responsibilities, the main duty is to keep and make available a true record of township business. I believe that the Meeting Minutes I've drafted in the last four years are indeed accurate, consistent, accessible, and thus a convincing argument that I am best qualified for the Clerk position. I am very proud of the fact that I have fulfilled my campaign promises from four years ago> *Continued fiscal responsibility- addressed through my proposal for a 10% pay cut for board salaries, MY DECISION TO DECLINE ALL OF MY PENSION BENEFITS, and other board actions. *Honest/Open Government- addressed by developing a Transparency Initiative (noted above) *Outreach to military families- addressed through the Blue Star Banner Program that I developed (noted above). I realize the importance of attending monthly board meetings in fulfilling my duties. I have an outstanding attendance record in my last 8 years and plan to continue this into my next term on the board, if elected. I am an independent thinker working well with both Township boards that I have served on, while never compromising my ethics or values. I am honored to have served my community the last 8 years on the Township Board and I would love the opportunity to continue to serve for another four years.